The Incredible Hulk meets Mickey Mouse coming to a theater near you? Not likely. While Disney’s purchase of Marvel Entertainment for $4B in cash and stock makes good business sense, the move may be creating a stir in both stables of characters.
Disney has one of the most recognized brands in the world. Its characters for the most part are loveable, cute and cuddly with some exceptions like Snow White’s jealous stepmother, the Queen. Unlike Disney, Marvel has an edge. Fans may love their superheroes like Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk, but cute and cuddly they are not.
Comic books are good for movies. Action-packed films like “Transformers” and “Spiderman” is what’s hot in today’s so-called family entertainment market. The Marvel acquisition also opens the door for Disney to attract more boys and older kids.
Can both mix? Disney’s global distribution network can be a boon to Marvel content more than it ever could achieve by itself. Disney will make tons of money selling Marvel merchandise either online or at their brick and mortar stores. But combining the two at theme parks undoubtedly will shake up the Disney brand experience.
The Hollywood-based entertainment icon however must tread carefully. Disney may want to keep its brand separate from Marvel as it markets new content across movies, comic books and television channels. The more apparent Disney is in the marketing of Marvel superheroes, the more watered down both brands may become. No small challenge for any entertainment company, but a very capable task for the 86-year-old marketing powerhouse.